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Cardiovascular health linked to ozone pollution
July 23, 2017, 1:16 pm

Exposure to ozone, long associated with impaired lung function, is also connected to health changes that can cause cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, according to a new study by a team of researchers in china.

Ozone is a pollutant formed through a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight interacts with nitrogen oxides and other organic compounds in the atmosphere that are generated by coal-burning, vehicle exhaust and some natural sources.

The team studied 89 healthy adults living in Changsha City, China, for one year. They monitored indoor and outdoor ozone levels, along with other pollutants. At four intervals, the study team took participant blood and urine samples and used a breathing test called spirometry to examine a set of factors that could contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

They found blood platelet activation (a risk factor for clotting) and an increase in blood pressure, with ozone exposure lower than that which affects respiratory health, and lower than current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards.

The study shows that standards for safe ozone exposure should take into account its effect on cardiovascular disease risk.

The production of ozone globally will be exacerbated by a warmer climate, so it will be an increasing trend with climate change," said the research team. Ozone is a difficult pollutant to control because its creation in the atmosphere is complex and its reduction is a challenging process.

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